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Prosecutors ask for 'further investigation' of salsa instructor

April 08, 2009|Ari B. Bloomekatz and Andrew Blankstein

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has declined to file sexual assault charges against salsa dance instructor Alex Da Silva, a choreographer on the FOX television show "So You Think You Can Dance," who was expected to be released from custody Tuesday.

"We declined to file [Monday] . . . and asked Los Angeles police to do some further investigation," Sandi Gibbons, a district attorney's spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. "Once the additional investigation is complete and the case is resubmitted, we will evaluate it and make a filing decision."

Da Silva, 41, was arrested in the middle of a class he was teaching Saturday at the EDGE Performing Arts Center in Hollywood. He was accused of committing multiple sexual assaults between 2003 and 2009 and was being held in lieu of $3.8-million bail.

Police had alleged that he raped four female students using various ruses to get them into his bedroom, such as wanting to show them new clothes or asking for help fixing his computer. Police said three of the incidents took place in North Hollywood and the most recent case took place in Van Nuys.

Police "have done everything they could to ruin his reputation by announcing the arrest to the press without making sure they had a case strong enough to even file," Da Silva's attorney, Harland Braun, wrote in an e-mail.

"From what my client tells me, this is just a question of people misunderstanding the difference between seduction and rape," Braun said later in a telephone interview.

Prosecutors and a detective working on the case said the investigation is continuing.

Jane Robison, another district attorney spokeswoman, said other potential victims have made criminal allegations against Da Silva since his arrest over the weekend.

"We've asked the LAPD to further investigate the allegations made by new victims," Robison said. "Our understanding is that more women have called with allegations of sexual assault."

Los Angeles Police Det. John Eum said three other women had filed police reports since Da Silva's arrest and two others were contemplating similar action. Eum said police also were exchanging information with authorities in Scottsdale, Ariz., where Da Silva is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on March 22.

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ari.bloomkatz@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein @latimes.com

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